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Carrying over from Independence Day:
Prepostrophy: new handle for an old (set of) genre(s): I don’t think John of the Apocalypse worried too much about realism, not too many people who bank on blockbusters do either. Independence Day bade us believe that Mars had blown up Washington DC, but people, fundamentally civilized, still waited to cross at the green. The President, instead of getting his head kicked around the Mall, gets spirited off to Roswell: where he learns that he’s been rountinely, purposively, lied to; but the liars are saluting him without irony, now they’re debriefing him about their lies: and act as though he’s really the leader, has been all along, not their moron puppet.
I’m enjoying watching World War Z: Brad Pitt. I’ve always liked him, I like him better middle aged (him middle aged, me old) than I ever did young (him young, me middle aged). He’s one of the leading good looking guys who has never for an instant made me uncomfortable about how good looking he is. Colin Farrell is another. Even Tom Cruise makes me gag a bit: especially after decades of him in preposterous mars attacks blockbuster after Armageddon-trophy flick.
In WWZ, the little bit I’ve seen so far, Brad exemplifies the tough guy as normal guy: he cooks pancakes for his daughters and wife, lovingly chides them, washes the dishes … Meantime, zombies are taking over, the UN wants its 007 Bond guy back in the saddle. They send a team in a ‘copter to rescue Brad and family, wumpwump them off to a battle ship: all the private citizens have lost their cars, their families, their neighborhoods to a zombie plague: but the UN spies, the super super feds, have hi-tech gear, battleships, choppers, plenty of fuel, plenty of ammo … plenty of obedience among subordinates … Chaos, but the system works.
Could Hollywood permit anything else to be imagined? Balderdash is still profitable.
So: some old buddy calls Brad while Brad and family are up to here in zombies, says he’ll move mountains to rescue him, sends a team. OK: now Brad and family are on a carrier: Brad, wifie, two daughters, and some Spanish-speaking kid, a fellow-adventuring boy. The brass want Brad on a mission. He says No, thanks: he’s got to stay with his family. The brass says, OK, jettison the excess baggage. Wifie is appalled: You mean they’d send up back to Brooklyn? Brad has to assent.
Bull, the brass could toss them overboard then and there. Actually the brass wouldn’t have sent the chopper if they weren’t pretty confident that Brad was a reflex saluter (and his wife would have learned silence before she married him!)
Another example of civilized people imagining chaos without any ability to imagine chaos. Well, the zomies act in chaos, but the civilized are ready to queue up and stand in line: wait to be told what to do.
Good Looking Guys
2014 10 09 The other day I was talking about not liking Lawrence Harvey. I love this beautiful actress, and that one, am repelled by another one. ‘Coop thrilled me, as Hollywood knew he would, Alan Ladd. Tab Hunter made me gag, Rock Hudson. We heterosexuals have to defend the ascendency of our own behavior, idealized, exaggerated. Actual sexual behavior may be ambiguous, our myths of ourselves are unilateral. The majority have an investment in heterosexuality, movies give us free likes and dislikes without the need for gassing people in the showers. (You need a monster fucking bureaucracy, vertically administered, to gas people in the showers: our bureaucracy is monstrous enough!)
Pierce Brosnan is another one: gorgeous, shiver. I loved Sean Connery from day one, disliked Brosnan: till yesterday! I’m watching Robinson Crusoe. I think he’s very good. Attractive in a way I’m comfortable with. Maybe it helps that he’d gotten a bit older by 1997.
And now I’m at long last reading Crusoe too! Such an important book, shame on me. Absurdities that repelled me in 1957 now thrill me. Compare reports we now have (that didn’t exist in Daniel Defoe’s day) of modern westerners meeting actual “primitives”. Jared Diamond reports what’s real; Defoe explored imperial imagination. We should know Crusoe the same way we should know history, know the bible … to embarrass ourselves.
A memory comes flashing: same 1957 or ’58: I was having an espresso in the Cafe Figaro, Bleeker & Macdougal, with a classmate I was just becoming friends with. I’ll mention him as “Nick”. A couple took a table near by. My jaw dropped. “Oh, I’d like to fuck her”, I murmured. “I’d like to fuck both of them”, replied Nick: my life’s first encounter with bisexuality! something I’d never heard of, had never imagined. Yes, my memory tells me, the guy was very good looking too, but only his girl registered on my erotic consciousness.
Ah, memory is breeding memory, I now recall other things about that evening. It was my first experience with pot: gag. I was still living in a Columbia dorm, John Jay, on Morningside Heights; Nick had an apartment in the East Village. I was just becoming a habitue of the regular Village, feeling very sophisticated, at home at the Figaro (preferred it to the Cafe Rienzi, Macdougal Street, where I’d gone first). We started our evening at Nick’s. Some girl stopped by. Oh, God: Nick had his own apartment, off campus, Nick had his own girl, a female friend at least (he’d partly escaped the male bastion, the culture doing its part to turn us into our grandfathers). Nick and the girl rolled some reefer and lit up the boo. (I’ve seen since: pot smokers smoke all the time!)
1957? I’d already known cannabis clouds for eight years, since 1949, age 11: we attended my cousin’s graduation from Princeton, there was a mall of frat tents, each with its own Dixieland band, each filled with beer drunks — drunks I already knew very well — each hidden in clouds of hallucinogen afflatus, I was told it was pot (though most memorable to me, other than the dixie, was the pretty girl in bandages from head to toe whose boyfriend had thrown her through a plate glass window: Mediterranean again, looked like Paz Vega, my eleven year old heart broke, ah, Ivy.
I didn’t see pot again till 1956. First day of Freshman Week at Columbia there was a beer party in a dorm lobby. I gravitated to the jazz musicians, met several, within minutes! Within minutes I was offered a toke. No thanks. They kept offering, for a year, then stopped. I always said no. (By that time my friends were no longer pot smokers, they were full-blown junkies. One genius couldn’t complete a sentence in English by then!) But now I’m here in the East Village, there’s a girl present, I was tired of being odd man out. They offered the roach, they pressed it on me. Hell, I was sitting there smoking a Chesterfield: at their urging, I sucked some boo in too.
The girl split, Nick and I walked to the Figaro, there we saw that seductive Latin-looking couple, then Nick and I walked to the Whitehorse Tavern, way west, 11th and Hudson. Had a beer. Jeez, was I sick by then.
Think I’d refuse the toke ever-ever since? No, I was stupid a couple more times, always under social pressure; but never since.
(Uh, correction: the other two experiences were not with pot; they were with hash: something I’d never heard of, hadn’t been warned about. But I knew it was something illegal, something I shouldn’t be messing with.)
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